‘O Summer, wherefore art thou?’

I’m grateful for the rain we’ve had. Truly grateful. It has been consistent and there has been a lot of it. The garden is loving it, although a few drought hardy plants might be moaning about their roots being damp. La Niña was promised this summer and has delivered by the tankful.

However, at the risk of sounding picky, I would like a few hot sunny days. Sunshine has been in short supply in recent times, and like most people, I do like a bit of sun. At the moment, it’s cardigans and slippers inside, unlike last summer when the air conditioner was keeping us cool while the temperatures outside were reaching 40 degrees and the air was full of smoke.

Our front garden (above), blessed with ample rain and excellent drainage, is in full seasonal splendour with Salvias, Agapanthus, Perovskia, Lagerstroemia, Achillea and Tulbaghia all clamouring for attention.

A new addition to the garden is Helenium ‘Crimson Beauty’. I have admired Helenium on UK posts and thought it might do well here. Commonly called Sneezeweed due to its use as snuff in earlier times, I don’t think it’s seen very often in Australian gardens. It comes in a wide range of colours, so I’ll keep a lookout for some others as it seems happy in our conditions.

A new rose: ‘Perfect Harmony’. Perfectly harmonious with shades of pink, peach and pale saffron tones. It’s supposedly disease resistant which is a good thing as there’s been a struggle with black spot amongst the rose community in this garden.

The very small Banksia on the left has been planted in a tricky spot. The previous tenants have been a Ceonothus which flowered prolifically and flamboyantly for several years before suddenly dying for no good reason; a dwarf Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’ which never really got started, never mind reach its first birthday, and a Hibiscus syriacus which was overcome by a local feline’s frequent visits – and who wouldn’t be, I ask. This new Banksia spinulosa ‘Honeypots’ has already started to grow new shoots, and has been carefully protected by cat deterring wire. When (and if) it grows up it should have striking flowers like the ones on the label.

The cheap, plastic-covered ‘greenhouse’ (I shouldn’t have bothered, really) has been redeployed as a bird feeder and is attracting locals keen for a free meal: Rainbow Lorikeets have recently arrived, lording it over King Parrots, which despite their size, are intimidated; and Galahs are getting some seed when they can. All colourful and endlessly fascinating. You can tap on theses photos to enlarge them if you wish to look closer.

Lastly, a daylily which was given to me by a friend and which is a handsome example of its species.

As ever, I’m joining with the Six on Saturday crowd, gardeners from many varied environments, who are generous in their sharing and who all link up with The Propagator. More SoS posts can be found here.

Weather today: Cloudy with a little sun and a cool south-easterly. 14-24 degrees celsius. At 8 pm, the clouds have rolled away, the sky is clear and the wind has dropped. Warm weather is coming tomorrow…. so that’s where you are, Summer!

69 Comments Add yours

  1. I do love to see your exotic birds, so beautiful! Your front garden is looking wonderful, so nice to see when all is cold and dark here. Have you thought of trying helenium from seed to expand your collection? They are very easy and flower quite quickly from sowing. Hope you get your longed for sunshine x

    1. Jane says:

      The birds are so cheery, and the garden has given us a great deal of pleasure this season. Thanks for the heads up on Helenium seeds. As it happens, we have a seed supplier in Mudgee, so I’ll check them out.

    2. Jane says:

      I realise now that you probably meant that I should send o/s for Helenium seeds. Australia is very strict about bringing seeds into the country and there seems to be a rigmarole attached to it ( I had a quick check), if the seeds are unusual and don’t fall into the ‘well known’ category.
      The Mudgee place, which send seeds all over the country, has a very wide range, but not Helenium.

      1. I thought you might be able to get them there, I know that you are very strict over there otherwise I would send you some. You never know, somewhere …….

  2. Derrick John Knight says:

    Delightful pictures and humorous text

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Derrick.

  3. Heyjude says:

    What a lovely joyous post to salivate over whilst we shiver over here. And I love your colourful birds. Good luck with the banksia!

    1. Jane says:

      I’ll post the Banksia’s progress…hopefully it will be positive!

  4. Paddy Tobin says:

    You may admire heleniums while we would envy your bankias – a case of faraway hills being greener, I think.

    1. Jane says:

      So true, Paddy. I’ve envied (and bought) quite a few things I’ve seen on Northern Hemisphere blogs!

      1. Paddy Tobin says:

        Faraway hills etc….

  5. pommepal says:

    That Helenium is certainly doing well Jane. I have not heard of it but it seems to thrive in your garden. The rain is a real benefit to us gardeners this season thanks to La Niña. Hope the banksia survives. I find that some places in the garden, for unknown reasons, plants seem to struggle in.

    1. Jane says:

      Hello PP,thanks for your comment. Yes, La Niña has served us well, and although I had a bit of a moan about lack of sun, I hope she hasn’t finished with us yet! Your garden must be looking spectacular after all the rain you’ve had up north.

      1. pommepal says:

        We didn’t get the deluge, just the tail end of it which was just the right amount. Just done big prune today everything is growing so fast.

  6. Joy says:

    I love the Rose ‘Perfect Harmony’. Such gorgeous colours and really lives up to its name.

    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you for your Shakespearean contribution, Joy……very appropriate!

  7. If the weather could be nice and sunny during the day, with a pleasant gentle breeze, and just the right amount of rain required at night to keep the garden happy, t’would be perfect and hardly that much too ask. It rarely obliges though. Your front garden looks smashing and that Helenium is a beauty. I didn’t know that was how it got the name sneezeweed!

    1. Jane says:

      I only discovered about the sneezeweed as I was writing my post, and now I’ve discovered there’s a sneezeweed that’s native to Australia as well. It looks quite different but is part of the same family.
      You’re so right about the weather.

  8. Weather is never absolutely perfect! Fabulous birds

    1. Jane says:

      It isn’t, and I don’t mean to complain. I love rain, really.

  9. I really enjoyed your post and the lovely colours of birds and flowers. That’s a lovely Helenium that you’ve chosen, but for me the sumptuous day lily steals the show, so velvety and dramatic.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, it’s perfect and I wish I knew its name.

      1. Sarah Raven has a few that look very like this in her book The Bold and Brilliant Garden.

  10. Beautiful birds. Our sparrows and occasional bluetits don’t compete but are welcome nonetheless. I have a darker pink edged rose too…..very pretty.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Granny.

  11. fredgardener says:

    As I replied to Barbara this morning, here is the news from the southern hemisphere… It allows you to warm up for a few minutes with all these pretty colours (and the birds are amazing!). Very nice photo with the heleniums in the foreground

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Fred. It goes both ways doesn’t it. I like to see warm and colourful Northern Hemisphere gardens during our winter.

  12. Katharine says:

    Ooooh I look forward to seeing the Banksia as it develops. It’s so lovely to see your summer flowers as we shiver in out winter. Joyous!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you Katherine. I hope I have success with the Banksia and am able to post a stunning photo.

  13. Good use for the greenhouse. I reckon the Helenium should do well for you. I’ve tried a few from seed but not really got going.

    1. Jane says:

      I bought my Helenium as a little plant. I’m really quite poor at growing things from seed myself and I’m hoping my Helenium will do a bit of self seeding. I think it might!

  14. Noelle says:

    What a treat to see exotic plants, birds and a beautiful rose all in the same garden.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Noelle. It’s a lovely time of year for us.

  15. Kris P says:

    I can understand your wish for a little sun, Jane – even here, we start to feel that way on the rare occasions (now but a distant memory!) in which we’ve had rain for weeks on end. I love the rose and the Helenium, which sadly I’ve never succeeded in growing here in Southern California. I haven’t tried Banksia here yet and I’ve very tempted. One SoCal friend has had problems with them but I know they’ve done well in gardens in the northern part of our state.

    1. Jane says:

      I’d be surprised if you couldn’t grow a banksia in your garden, Kris, as you’ve had a great deal of success with Southern Hemisphere plants.
      It’s Sunday now and the day is full of sunshine!

  16. Oh that Banksia! When I first glanced at the photo I did think they were garden candles! I need to look at photos after I am wide awake! If I had those birds in my backyard you would never get me to leave it! I am looking forward to your garden all year!

    1. Jane says:

      I hope the Banksia lives up to its expectations and that I’m able to post a photo of its flower. Probably won’t happen before winter, though. The birds are a constant source of delight for us…one of the king parrots has actually eaten out of my hand. This may not be a good thing, but I think he probably visits a few houses and is quite used to humans.

  17. It’s been wet over here too. I guarantee sunny days will come tomorrow as I am going back to work!

    1. Jane says:

      It’s Sunday now….bright, sunny and warm!

  18. Vicki says:

    The new rose ‘Perfect Harmony’ is a real stunner, Jane. I don’t think I’ve ever seen rose colours quite like it before. All in all, your garden is looking stunning.

    It’s been very mild down in Melbourne too, but very hot tomorrow at 38C.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you Vicki. I haven’t seen you for a while, so I hope all is going well for you in Melbourne.

      1. Vicki says:

        Still recovering from my December hip replacement urgery, Jane AND have deleted 2 old blogs and started a new one (based on archival images and my favourite quotes – until I can get outdoors walking again).

        1. Jane says:

          I hope your recovery is progressing well, Vicki. Your enforced rest time will no doubt be helpful for sorting through all your photos!

          1. Vicki says:

            🙂 How I wish, Jane. I’ve become addicted to Korean Netflix serials instead. But I did manage to finish reading a book I started months ago (and forgot what I’d actually read so far).

  19. Anonymous says:

    It has been a most unusual summer for us too! Lots of lovely rain, but the tomatoes are now begging for some sun. (30 degrees today so be careful what you wish for!)
    I have often noticed Hellenisms in Northern Hemisphere posts, so it is nice to see it thriving in your garden, it looks very pretty. I planted a banksia last year and it died almost straight away…maybe the wrong spot. There is a lovely Banksia ”Birthday Candles” in the National Botanic gardens. When we are in Melbourne we watch the Rainbow Lorikeets chase away all the other birds in the parks, we don’t get many in Canberra. (so many large birds here)
    Your garden looks lovely Jane.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment. I have seen a Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’ in the NBG and photographed it meaning to give it a post all of its own. It sits atop a rock looking for all the world like a mop of hair, or in fact, a row of candles!
      I’m rather hoping the Lorikeets don’t completely take over in our garden. There have only been a couple of them so far.

  20. It’s been the same here, plenty of rain, cooler temperatures and very windy. My garden has thoroughly enjoyed the rain and already things are going gangbusters. Including weeds, which is not such good news. It’s fine and sunny here this morning and it’s supposed to be hot again from tomorrow. Your new rose is gorgeous.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, it has been windy here too, and the wind is coming from the east which is partly why the weather has been unseasonably cool.
      You’ve had a lot of rain up north, I think, so I’m sure your garden is looking wonderful.

      1. We got around 80 mm in total, but much further north around Townsville they got heaps more.

  21. Roguegarden says:

    The picture of your garden is lovely – you are growing many of my favorites. Though generally not a huge fan of roses, I find the range of colors and soft glow of the Perfect Harmony you photographed irresistable. Good reinvention of an old greenhouse frame!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, you’ve described PH perfectly!

  22. Such a lovely post! I can relate to wanting a few days of sun, as we are also having lots of rain at the moment. I love the Helenium! I too succumbed to sourcing a plant, ended up with two different varieties from two different nurseries. One seems to be be doing better than the other, and I hope it survives all the rain. Mine are not flowering as yet. I think the flowers are just beautiful! It is such a treat when the native birds come visiting, isn’t it?

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, H & M, the sun has come out now and warm weather looks set to continue for a week – at least. No doubt we perverse humans will be asking for rain again before too long!
      I hope you post pics of your Heleniums when they flower. The flowers are delightful. I purchased mine from Woodbridge Nursery in Tasmania.

      1. Re Woodbridge……Snap!! It is a favourite source of plants for me as well! I’m looking forward to the flowers, and if all goes well I will definitely post photos of them! Take care!

  23. Meanderer says:

    Your garden is looking fab an,d that helenium is so beautiful – one of my favourite flowers which I haven’t, as yet, tried in this garden! Hope you get a little more sunshine.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Meanderer, the sunny weather arrived the next day. ☀️

  24. Anonymous says:

    So lovely to see all the colour in your garden, especially as we’ve had a long spell of cold, grey weather here. A beautiful Rose

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you. Yes, the rose is lovely with its gentle colours.

  25. shoreacres says:

    It’s such fun to compare hemispheres, and plants. I’ve never heard of Banksia; all I could think of was the Britist street artist, Banksy! On the other hand, I love your Helenium, and I think you’d enjoy seeing that one spread across our hills. It’s native here, and an enthusiastic spreader. We have at least three species, as I recall, and I’ve found it with purple rays rather than yellow — quite dramatic!

    I’m always entranced by your birds. We have many lovely ones as well, but it’s always a bit of a shock to see what we consider ‘pet’ birds gathering at a feeder.

    1. Jane says:

      Ha ha, I love the Banksy connection! Banksias are fabulous plants: tough yet beautiful, and magnets for birds and bees. They range from low-growing almost ground covers to large trees and are found all over Australia in various forms. I hope I’ll be able to post a photo of the flowers of my new one eventually, but it has a deal of growing to do first.
      I certainly would love to see the Helenium growing wild…I wonder if it will be an ‘enthusiastic spreader’ in my garden!

  26. I think the plastic greenhouses cloches with the green mesh are a waste of money. The UV rays destroyed mine in one season. I was gutted.

    The Perfect Harmony rose is beautiful.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, I won’t bother with one of those greenhouses again. The plastic soon deteriorated in the sun, but at least the frame has found a new purpose…not attractive, but practical.

  27. Yes, the rain is welcome but so is the sun, finally.
    Your garden looks lovely. My 8 month old garden is now getting there mainly due to the planting of different salvias. There is nothing like getting birds and other creature to visit when gardens assume a jungle-like appearance.
    I even had a frog in my kitchen sink.
    What next?

    1. Jane says:

      Thank goodness for our gardens for keeping us occupied and sane, Gerard. Salvias are fabulous plants, so colourful and hardy.
      I read your post about the frog. What an ignominious end – to finish one’s life in someone’s washing up water. At our last place, (further out in the country) we had similar frogs appearing in our toilet!

  28. bonnie groves poppe says:

    Your garden is full of all the same plants we grow here in summer. Right now its very much winter, we even had snow, and blooms are few and far between. Seeing your photos makes me miss summer and look forward eagerly to spring.
    bonnie in provence

    1. Jane says:

      Warmer weather will arrive before you know it, I’m sure, Bonnie. It’s funny how we grow similar plants even tho’ in different hemispheres. Probably I should grow more natives, but I do love the exotics I grow here.

  29. macquie says:

    Happy new year Jane, your garden is filled with so many colors of flowers and trees!💕

    1. Jane says:

      Happy new year to you too Makiko. It’s good to see you blogging again!

      1. macquie says:

        Thank you, i am glad too.☺️

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